Last updated: Wednesday 11th March 2020
On this page:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) health advice for people with asthma
- Thinking ahead
- What to do if your asthma is getting worse
- Help if you’re feeling anxious
The coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly developing situation and the most up-to-date information for people in the UK can be found on the NHS website.
When people with asthma get respiratory infections, it can set off their asthma symptoms.
To reduce your risk of asthma symptoms, the best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps:
- Keep taking your preventer inhaler daily as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including coronavirus.
- Carry your blue reliever inhaler with you every day, in case you feel your asthma symptoms flaring up.
- Download and use an asthma action plan to help you recognise and manage asthma symptoms when they come on.
- If you come down with flu, a cold, or any other respiratory infection, follow our tips for looking after your asthma when you’re not well.
If more advice about coronavirus for people with asthma is released, we will post it here.
As well as taking care of your asthma, there are some straightforward steps everyone can take to lower the risk of getting and spreading coronavirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
- Use tissues to wipe your nose or catch sneezes, and then bin them straight away.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands aren’t clean.
- Follow this NHS advice if you have just come back from an at-risk area, or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has coronavirus.
- Public Health England doesn’t recommend wearing a facemask. Some people with lung conditions say they find wearing a mask makes breathing more difficult.
As the virus is predicted to spread further in the UK, the next step in slowing down the spread would be people taking steps to reduce their contact with others, for example by avoiding shaking hands, or avoiding large gatherings of people. It would be a good idea for people with long-term lung conditions - including asthma - to start thinking about how they would manage in this situation. Examples might include discussing arrangements to work from home with your employer. At the moment, this is not the guidance for people with lung conditions, but it is wise to prepare for what may happen next. We will continue to update our online information as we get more guidance from the NHS.
You should also make plans to help you cope if the spread of the virus causes significant disruption, or if you are asked to self-isolate. This might include making sure you know how you would get your medicines, food and other essential items if you had to self-isolate, and thinking about how you would stay in touch with friends and family.
If your asthma is getting worse and there’s a risk you might have coronavirus, please use the 111 online service or call 111. Don’t go to your doctor’s surgery.
When you contact 111:
- Let them know that you have asthma and that you’re getting asthma symptoms.
- Explain how often you are using your reliever inhaler and if it’s not working completely or lasting for 4 hours.
- Follow the instructions given to you by 111.
- If your symptoms get worse quickly and you’re worried you are having an asthma attack, call 999 and let them know you may have coronavirus and are having an asthma attack. See our asthma attack advice for more information.
If your asthma is getting worse and you haven’t been to the high-risk areas or been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, make an urgent appointment to see your GP as usual. If you have an asthma attack, follow the steps on your action plan and call 999 for an ambulance if you need to.
Some people with asthma are telling us they feel anxious and worried about coronavirus. The Mental Health Foundation has produced a great list of tips to help people cope with anxiety. Ideas include:
- Making sure you’re looking after yourself, so you feel more able to cope with whatever happens.
- Only looking at reliable sources of information, like the NHS and the gov.uk websites.
- Staying connected to friends and family and talking about your worries.
We hope you have found this content useful.
Our team of health experts is working tirelessly on a daily basis to provide the latest and most up to date health advice concerning Coronavirus (Covid-19) for people with asthma.
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